"What the hell am I doing?"

Kaidan stood outside the Commander's quarters, working up the courage to enter, heart racing. He ran his hands along his shirt, smoothing out imaginary wrinkles. He hadn't been this nervous since, well, since earlier that day to be honest.

He had been sitting at a cafe on the Presidium waiting, hoping, for Shepard to join him. The longer he waited, the more he began to doubt himself. Sure, he and the Commander had flirted some; traded a few innuendos. But flirting didn't necessarily mean anything. Hell, look at Vega. He'd flirt with anything with a pulse, including the Commander, but it was just playing. Wasn't it? Oh god, what if it wasn't? What if Shepard already had a thing for Vega? What if he wasn't even interested in men? What if... "Ok, that's enough. Get yourself together Alenko. You are a Major in the Alliance Navy. The second human Spectre. You are 35 goddamn years old, so stop acting like a nervous kid waiting for his first date." He took a deep breath to steady himself. "You can do this."

"Do what, Major?"

Kaidan looked up, blushing slightly at getting caught talking to himself. It quickly faded as he smiled at the familiar, husky voice. "Commander. I'm glad you made it."

Shepard sat down across from him and, suddenly, all of Kaidan's nerves vanished. Shepard had always had that effect on him. The world could be going to hell around them, and there he'd be, calm, sure…safe. An anchor the rest of them could cling to. Kaidan had never known anyone like him. Shepard had quickly earned his respect, then his friendship, and somehow, without him even realizing it, his love.

He didn't know when friendship had become something more, but he remembered all too well the day he realized it. The day the original Normandy had been destroyed. The day Shepard died. He spent the next two years regretting his late realization, mourning the loss of something he never had. He threw himself into his work, trying to fill the void. It never quite worked.

And then, a miracle. Shepard back from the dead. Shepard alive and asking for his help. Shepard wearing the silver and gold insignia of Cerberus, a known terrorist organization, instead of the familiar Alliance blue. And once more, he missed his chance. Hurt and confusion lead to accusations and harsh words. He had walked away, turning his back on Shepard when he needed him most.

And now, here they were, brought back together by God, or fate, or just plain dumb luck. Brought back together by war. They'd been given the opportunity to mend broken bridges, to rebuild trust and friendship. He'd be damned if he'd waste this chance.

They sat and talked for a while, keeping it light at first. They joked about the menu. Kaidan told Shepard about his parent's house in Vancouver. And then, before he knew it, Kaidan was pouring his heart out. He told Shepard how respect had turned to love. How he hoped that, if these were their last days, they could spend them taking comfort in one another. That what he wanted, what he'd always wanted, was a deeper connection with someone he had come to care so much about. And then he asked Shepard what he wanted.

Kaidan held his breath, waiting for Shepard to answer. His stomach knotted as the other man looked away, clearly weighing his response. He tried to read the expression on his face. There was surprise, uncertainty, and something Kaidan couldn't quite place in the Commander's eyes and the set of his jaw. Something that almost looked….wistful. Part of him wanted to bolt, to take it all back and tell Shepard to forget he ever said anything. But that not quite recognizable look on Shepard's face kept him planted in his seat.

After an eternity of uncertainty, Shepard looked at him and smiled. He said he felt the same. That the thought of the two of them together, after all this time, felt right. And Kaidan finally placed the look in Shepard's eyes. Hope.

The rest of dinner passed in a giddy blur. They spent the time joking, flirting and laughing. That's what he remembered the most, the laughter. There hadn't been nearly enough of that since the war started. To be there, sharing that moment with Shepard, had been a gift. And then, at the end...

"Kaidan, I've still got some business to wrap up on the Citadel, but I'm expecting to have a few free hours this evening. Why don't you stop by my quarters later and we can... have ourselves a sanity check." Shepard had looked down at him, a crooked smile on his face and a look in his eyes that sent butterflies exploding in Kaidan's stomach. His heartbeat stuttered and he managed to reply, "I'd like that, Shepard." Shepard's smile deepened and he reached out to lightly graze the side of Kaidan's face with calloused fingers. "So would I."

And now, here he was. Standing outside Shepard's door, trying to squash his nerves long enough to ring the damn bell. Why was he so nervous? He knew where he and Shepard stood now. Hell, the Commander had been the one to invite him up. "Screw it. This is ridiculous." He took a deep breath and pressed a button on the panel beside the door. "Commander? It's Kaidan. Have you got some time?" There was a short pause and then a voice came over the intercom. "Kaidan, I'm glad you stopped by. Come on in."

Kaidan entered the room, looking around for Shepard. A soft sound off to his right drew his attention and he turned, smiling. "Hey Shepard, I hope I'm not interrupt...ing." Shepard stood in the doorway leading to the lavatory, casually leaning against the frame. His chest and legs were bare, the only thing between him and complete nakedness a short towel that he held loosely around his waist. Rational thought fled as much needed blood flow to Kaidan's brain rushed to his quickly reddening face…and other parts considerably farther south.

"Sorry, you just caught me at the end of my shower."

"Yeah, I... ah... I can see that. "

Kaidan's gaze moved across Shepard's incredibly fit body, traveling across the toned muscles of his arms and chest before following a fine trail of hair downward to where it thickened and started to curl before disappearing behind the towel.

"Kaidan, you're staring." Shepard's teasing voice broke Kaidan's trance. He jerked his gaze away from Shepard's barely concealed nakedness and tried to meet his eyes, his face flushing an even darker shade of red. "I, uh, yeah, I guess I am." He chuckled nervously, running a hand through his perfectly gelled hair. "You... make it hard not to stare, Shepard."

Shepard pushed himself lightly away from the door. "Good." He sauntered towards Kaidan, flashing a cocky grin. When he stopped he was so close that Kaidan could feel the heat radiating from his body, feel his breath brush lightly across his face as he spoke. "I like when you stare at me."

Kaidan struggled to form coherent thoughts, to say something witty and charming; something that would put him back in control of himself. Nothing came to mind. And then he did the one thing he was terrified of; the one thing he never did. He let go. Without thought or plan, he reached for the other man. One hand dug into Shepard's hip, pulling him tight against his body, as the other grasped the back of his head, bringing him in for a crushing kiss.

He felt a jolt of satisfaction as Shepard made a startled sound deep in his throat. Then Shepard's arms were around him, the towel falling forgotten on the floor between them.

They weren't gentle with one another. Hands pulled and grasped, nails bit into skin, almost, but not quite, drawing blood. Kaidan flicked his tongue across Shepard's lips and his mouth opened to him, tongue darting out to meet his own. Their tongues fought, lashing at one another, battling for dominance.

Kaidan didn't know how long they stayed like that, lost in a fog of hands and mouths and tongues. Somewhere in the midst of it all, Shepard had torn Kaidan's shirt off and undone the top button of his, now uncomfortably tight, pants. They had also somehow made it all the way across the room to the sleeping area. A fact that Kaidan discovered when Shepard gave him a light shove, sending him toppling onto the bed.

He started to push himself into a sitting position but stopped when Shepard, still standing at the foot of the bed, held out a hand. "Wait. Stay just like that." A slow smile spread across his face. "Now it's my turn to stare."

Kaidan settled back down on the bed, propping himself up slightly. He watched Shepard's face as his gaze moved across his body. His face flushed at the look in Shepard's eyes. Lust. Desire. And something else, something softer. No one had ever looked at him that way before.

After a few moments Kaidan shifted on the bed, resting one hand on his stomach, just above his partially undone pants. His fingers moved slowly, tracing lazy patterns along his waistline, occasionally slipping just out of sight. "Like what you see, Commander?"

Shepard smirked and ran his hand along his stomach before reaching lower. He cocked an eyebrow as he slowly stroked himself. "Mmmmm... what do you think?" The sight of Shepard touching himself was almost more than Kaidan could bear. His voice was a breathless growl when he spoke. "I think you need to come over here and put that hand to better use."

Shepard laughed and knelt on the bed between Kaidan's legs. He reached down and slowly removed Kaidan's shoes and socks before running one hand softly along Kaidan's inner thigh, gently spreading his legs so he could settle between them.

Kaidan wrapped his legs around Shepard, pulling him closer. His hands caressed Shepard's body, running along the skin of his chest and back, the smooth expanse occasionally broken by ridges of scar tissue. Their hips were pressed tightly together so that, even through his slacks, Kaidan could feel Shepard's arousal rubbing lightly against his own quickly hardening erection.

Kaidan moaned as Shepard began to slowly thrust against him, lowering his head to kiss and nibble his way across Kaidan's shoulder and neck. Kaidan felt Shepard's hot breath against his ear as he murmured, "Is it true that biotics glow blue if they lose control of themselves?" Kaidan laughed, shifting beneath Shepard so he could see his face. "Yes, but it usually takes more than sex to get us to that point." Shepard flashed a wicked grin, sending shivers down Kaidan's spine. "Well then," He bent his head towards Kaidan until their lips were barely brushing. "I guess I'll have to work extra hard."

Shepard's mouth was on his before he could respond, his tongue gently parting Kaidan's lips. Kaidan's tongue reached out to meet his, reveling in the taste of Shepard's mouth. If their first kiss had been a battle, this was a dance. Their tongues darted and slid together, teasing and exploring. And through it all, the slow, maddening grind of Shepard's hips against his own.

Eventually, Shepard broke their kiss, moving to work his way down Kaidan's body. Kaidan moaned softly when his mouth found one of his nipples, sucking gently. Kaidan ran his hand up the back of Shepard's neck and pressed lightly, encouraging him to suck harder. Shepard obliged, using his tongue and teeth to tease his nipple into a hard nub between his lips. He continued to work Kaidan's nipple with his mouth as he slowly ran one hand across his stomach, reaching between their bodies.

He tugged the zipper of Kaidan's pants, slowly drawing it down before reaching in and grasping Kaidan in a firm but gentle grip, slowly stroking along his shaft. "Mmmm... looks like you've been holding out on me Kaidan. I'm impressed." Kaidan gasped as Shepard stroked him, hips thrusting in time to the slide of Shepard's hand along his length. His chest heaved as he closed his eyes, struggling to keep himself under control. "Shepard... if you keep doing that I won't be 'holding out' on you much longer."

Shepard chuckled, pushing himself up to kneel between Kaidan's legs once more. "Well, we can't have that." He grasped the edges of Kaidan's trousers, slowly drawing them down his legs until Kaidan lay naked on the bed. "I'm not done with you yet."

After a long moment, Shepard lowered himself, bending to kiss his way down Kaidan's stomach until he reached the throbbing heat of his erection. He lightly grazed his cheek against the smooth hardness, teasing a sharp gasp from Kaidan's lips, before turning his head to run his tongue along Kaidan's length. He took his time, teasing and licking, until Kaidan lost himself beneath his touch. "Shepard... please..."

Shepard finally relented and moved to take Kaidan in his mouth, swirling his tongue around the head before slowly drawing him in. Propping himself with one hand, he brought the other to grasp the base of Kaidan's cock. His head and hand moved together, working Kaidan's shaft enthusiastically and groaning in pleasure as Kaidan filled his mouth, hardening even more with each stroke. Alternating between firm, steady strokes and soft, teasing kisses Shepard brought Kaidan to the edge and back repeatedly, until he was moaning and writhing beneath him, hands twisting in the bedsheets as his hips thrust into the wet heat of Shepard's mouth.

Kaidan's hands moved, resting on the back of Shepard's head. He lightly stroked the surprising softness of Shepard's close cropped hair, before gently pushing downward, wanting to feel himself buried in Shepard's throat. Shepard startled, hands grasping at Kaidan's hips in surprise, but didn't try to pull away. He tightened his grip, bracing himself against the invasion. Kaidan arched his hips, thrusting slowly, giving Shepard plenty of time to adjust. After a long, slow moment Kaidan was buried completely in Shepard's mouth. He groaned and pulled back slightly before thrusting forward again.

Shepard moaned deep in his throat, sending a jolt of pleasure through Kaidan's body as the vibration shot through his sensitive nerves. He cried out and began rocking his hips. His movements were slow and shallow at first, pulling out further and thrusting deeper with each motion. His hands lightly gripped the back of Shepard's head, not forcing, simply steadying as he rocked his hips in long, slow strokes, finding the perfect rhythm, thrusting into the eager heat of Shepard's mouth.

Heat spread through Kaidan's body and he felt the muscles in his stomach start to tighten. "Shepard. God, I... I'm gonna…" He moved his hands from Shepard's head, sliding along the curves of his neck to rest on his shoulders, giving him the chance to pull away.

Instead of withdrawing, Shepard reached for Kaidan's hand, drawing it back to his head. Their hands rested there for a moment, fingers intertwined, before Shepard pressed down, encouraging Kaidan to pull him tighter against him. He didn't need to be told twice. His hands clutched the back of Shepard's head as his hips thrust forward, quickly finding the rhythm again.

His thrusts became faster, more erratic, as he felt himself nearing the edge. A dim part of his mind worried that he should slow down, make sure Shepard was alright. But his body was in charge, driving him to find his release. As if reading his thoughts, Shepard's grip tightened on his hips, nails digging into skin, marking him as he moaned his approval.

With that final encouragement, the last of Kaidan's control slipped. Blue sparks exploded behind his eyes and his body filled with a familiar humming as his biotics flared. He lifted his head to look down his body. Waves of glowing blue energy rolled across his skin, crackling electrically where their bodies touched. And with that, Kaidan tumbled over the edge. "Jesus, Shepard... Fuck!" His entire body tensed, muscles knotting and straining as he arched up into Shepard's mouth one last time.

For one brief, eternal moment they stayed like that, Kaidan drawn tight beneath Shepard as he clung desperately to him. Then, with a surge of pleasure so intense it was almost painful, Kaidan shattered. He threw his head back, uttering a string of breathless curses and endearments as he spilled himself into Shepard's eager mouth. Shepard clung hard to him, riding the wave of his pleasure, taking everything Kaidan had to give.

As the tremors in Kaidan's body began to subside, Shepard finally pulled away, resting his forehead in the crook of Kaidan's thigh, gasping harshly as one hand roamed across his lover's body, setting off jolts of electricity from his still flickering biotics. He gave a low, throaty, chuckle. "I'd say that's mission accomplished, Major."

He raised himself up, crawling up Kaidan's body until he could claim his mouth with his own. Kaidan wrapped his arms around Shepard and held him close as they kissed, tasting himself on the other man's tongue. He kept his biotics activated as he caressed Shepard's body, delighting in the hum of energy between them as his hands trailed along the smooth planes of his shoulders and back, moving downward until he grabbed Shepard's ass, fingers digging into taut muscle as he pulled Shepard tighter against him.

Shepard moaned as their bodies pressed together and Kaidan could feel him, hot and hard and needy. Shepard broke their kiss to trail his mouth along the curve of Kaidan's jaw until his lips were at his ear, hot breath tickling his skin and sending shivers down Kaidan's spine as he growled, "I want you." He thrust his hips against Kaidan, leaving no doubt as to exactly how he wanted him. "God, I've wanted you for so long."

Kaidan closed his eyes against a nearly overwhelming swell of happiness and regret that washed over him. Happiness that this amazing, infuriating, beautiful man was finally in his arms. Regret that they had wasted so much damn time getting there.

When he opened his eyes, Shepard was looking down at him, shockingly blue eyes filled with desire and tenderness. Kaidan smiled up at him, blushing slightly. "Do you have…um…you know…" Shepard grinned and reached over to the night stand, rummaging around in a drawer for a moment before pulling out a bottle of clear liquid and a box of foil wrapped packets. Both still factory wrapped, Kaidan noticed with interest. Shepard caught his look and his cocky grin turned sheepish. "I picked these up before coming back to the ship today." Kaidan chuckled, reaching up to run his hands across the tight muscles of Shepard's chest. "Confident, are we?" Shepard leaned down to kiss Kaidan lightly and murmured against his lips, "Hopeful." Kaidan arched up into Shepard, deepening their kiss.

Kaidan heard a soft click and then Shepard shifted above him, reaching down between their bodies. Shepard's warm, slick fingers pressed against him, drawing a low moan from Kaidan's throat as he teased and stroked the sensitive skin around his entrance. Kaidan gasped, growling Shepard's name as the other man slowly slid first one, then a second finger inside him. Kaidan's hands twisted in the rumpled bed sheets as Shepard's fingers moved inside him in agonizingly slow, steady strokes. With a slight twist of his hand, Shepard found the sensitive bundle of nerves deep within Kaidan, causing him to cry out as his biotics flared again, bathing them both in a pulsing, blue glow. Kaidan wanted, needed, Shepard inside him. His body wasn't quite ready yet, he knew that. Knew he'd be feeling it in the morning once the endorphins wore off. But he didn't care. He'd waited years for this. He wasn't going to wait any longer.

"Shepard!" Kaidan's voice was filled with desperate need as he reached between them, pulling Shepard's hand away and straining towards him. Shepard took his cue, reaching over to fish one of the foil wrapped packets from the box on the side table. In one swift movement, he tore the packet open with his teeth and then reached down to fit the thin sheath of material around his straining cock.

He knelt up between Kaidan's legs, running his hands along the lean muscles of his thighs, before reaching over for the bottle and squeezing a thin, glistening line of liquid across his palm. He leaned back slightly and grinned as he slowly stroked himself, showing off for Kaidan's benefit. Kaidan drank in the sight of Shepard, muscles flexing smoothly beneath taut skin, blue eyes darkened by desire to the stormy steel blue of the English Bay in winter. He was wanton and dangerous. He was the most beautiful thing Kaidan had ever seen.

Shepard slid his hands beneath Kaidan's thighs, spreading him wider as he gently settled Kaidan's legs to either side of his shoulders, tilting his hips into the right position. He reached between them, lining himself up with Kaidan's tight opening. He gazed down at Kaidan, grin gone. His expression now was intense, almost solemn, and Kaidan read the unvoiced question in his eyes. Smiling, he reached up and pulled Shepard towards him, kissing him gently, the press of their lips nearly as soft as the puff of air that ghosted across Shepard's skin as Kaidan breathed out a single word. "Yes."

Shepard nodded slightly and took a deep, shaky, breath as he slowly pushed forward. Kaidan's head fell back onto the pillow and he gasped as Shepard slid into him. He fought to relax the muscles of his abdomen, unable to stop the quick intake of breath as a sharp pain briefly flared in his lower body.

Shepard froze above him. "Kaidan? Are you…" Kaidan heard the concern in Shepard's voice and gave his head a small shake. "No! I mean yes! I mean, I'm ok Shepard. It's just, ah, been a while, you know?" He took a deep breath and looked up at Shepard, giving him an encouraging smile and putting every ounce of his desire into his eyes. "Don't stop."

Shepard paused a moment longer, searching Kaidan's face. Whatever he saw there must have reassured him, because a slow grin spread across his face as he rocked his hips forward in a slow, gentle motion until he was buried in Kaidan's body to the hilt. Shepard's voice was a strangled whisper as he held himself still above Kaidan, struggling for control. "Kaidan! Oh, holy fuck you feel good."

Kaidan lay panting beneath Shepard's body. He ran his hands along Shepard's arms and shoulders, feeling the muscles twitch and tremble beneath his fingers. "So do you." It was true. There was still some pain, but it was nothing compared to the overwhelmingly right feeling of Shepard inside him. He slipped his hands down Shepard's chest and across the hard planes of his abs before coming to rest on his hips. He pushed lightly, encouraging Shepard to move. Shepard let out a trembling breath and pulled back before rolling his hips forward, thrusting into Kaidan in long, slow strokes. With every thrust the pain lessened until all that was left was the thrill of feeling Shepard moving inside him.

The pace Shepard set was slow and sensual. Shepard's hips surged forward as he leaned down to leave wet, sloppy kisses along Kaidan's chest and throat and jaw. He adjusted their positions so that Kaidan's legs could wrap around his waist as he pressed against him, maximizing contact. They moved together, sweat pooling between their bodies, easing the slide of skin on skin as their chests pressed together, sharing a single heartbeat.

Shepard's face was pressed into the crook of Kaidan's shoulder, breath ragged and hot against his flushed skin, murmuring over and over how good he felt, how much he wanted him, how much he needed him. Kaidan clung to Shepard, arms and legs wrapped around the other man, pulling him closer and tighter. Helpless moans were drawn from his lips with every thrust. Shepard shifted slightly above him and the angle changed just enough to hit that sensitive spot deep inside him. Kaidan cried out, his nails digging into the firm muscles of Shepard's back.

Shepard chuckled darkly and nipped at the skin under Kaidan's jaw as he thrust forward at the same angle. Within a few thrusts Kaidan was lost, his cries of pleasure filling the room. Shepard, sensing they were both near the edge, shifted his upper body, being careful not to lose the perfect angle he had found. He rested his weight on one forearm, hand tangling in Kaidan's hair to tip his head back, pulling his throat taut beneath his lips, tongue and teeth. His other hand snaked between their bodies, finding Kaidan hard and wanting. He stroked Kaidan's length, timing his movements to his thrusts into Kaidan's trembling body.

After a handful of strokes Kaidan's body tensed, shuddering on the edge of climax. Shepard felt the change and tilted his head to nip at the shell of Kaidan's ear before growling, "Come for me Kaidan." Kaidan nearly did, body desperate to obey. But he had just enough self control to hold back as he raked his nails down the skin of Shepard's back and rasped, "You first."

Shepard's rhythm faltered, the heat and pleasure pooling in his stomach and the base of his spine as he felt his release building. A few more thrusts and he was there, pleasure exploding through his body. He gasped Kaidan's name and buried his face in his neck, biting into the thick muscle where it met his shoulder, body trembling through the aftershocks of his orgasm. Kaidan followed close behind, the overwhelming sensation of Shepard throbbing deep within him combining with the delicious sting of teeth against his skin to send him hurtling over the brink.

They lay for a long moment, bodies entwined as they panted against each other's skin, trying to catch their breath. Eventually Shepard moved, eliciting a groan of protest from the other man at the loss of contact, as he rummaged around the floor beside the bed. He quickly returned with an undershirt he had discarded before his shower earlier. After taking a moment to clean them both up, Shepard flopped back onto the bed, resting his head on Kaidan's chest and draping himself across his body. Kaidan sighed happily and wrapped his arms around Shepard, their bodies fitting together naturally, as if they belonged there. When he spoke, his voice was breathless and hoarse with lingering desire. "Holy shit. Shepard. That….that was…."

Shepard chuckled. "Yeah…hell of a first date." Kaidan erupted in surprised laughter, tightening his hold on Shepard. The sound was infectious, and before they knew it, the two men were clutching each other, laughing and giggling like a couple teenagers. After a while, they began to settle and Kaidan kissed the top of Shepard's head. "Great, now you think I'm easy."

Shepard chuckled and turned his head slightly to kiss Kaidan's chest. "Oh, I don't know. I think three years of dancing around each other is plenty of foreplay." He propped himself up on one arm so he could look down at Kaidan, his expression growing more serious. "Although, there is one thing…."

Kaidan's hands stilled where they had been idly stroking along Shepard's flank. His brows drew together in a frown as he felt a flutter of apprehension in his chest. "What is it Shepard?"

Shepard continued to look at him solemnly for a moment before breaking into a teasing grin. "'Shepard'? Really? After all this, I'd think we were past formalities." He put a look of mock concern on his face. "Wait. You do know my first name, right? Or do you make it a habit of jumping into bed on the first date with men whose names you don't even know?"

Kaidan huffed out a laugh as the tension broke. His hands resumed their idle exploration of Shepard's skin. "Yes, I know your name. It's just….habit, I guess. Besides, you know me. I always like to leave myself-"

"A way out. Yeah, I know." Shepard interrupted, smiling. He stroked his hand along the firm muscles of Kaidan's chest and abdomen. "Well, I hate to break it to you K," Kaidan snorted in displeasure at the nickname. Shepard just grinned and ignored his protest as he continued, "but I have no intention of giving you a way out now. This…." He ran his hand up across Kaidan's chest and neck to gently cup the side of his face. "is something I plan on holding onto for as long as I can." He leaned down and kissed Kaidan, slow and tender, before pulling back and smiling down at him. "So do me a favor and loosen up a little, yeah?"

Kaidan gazed up at Shepard before grinning mischievously. "I'll do my best….Commander." Shepard barked a laugh and settled back down, nestled beside Kaidan, giving him a playful nip on the jaw. "Smartass."

Kaidan gave a contented sigh as Shepard settled into his embrace. A pleasant drowsiness settled over them as they lay together, chest to chest, feeling their heartbeats slow and synch up until they shared a single heart, a single breath. Just as he was on the edge of sleep, Kaidan heard Shepard whisper. "I love you Kaidan."

Kaidan pulled Shepard into a tighter embrace, letting those beautiful, hoped for words wash over him. And just before sleep finally claimed him, he replied. "I love you too….John."